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9 Big Considerations about Multi-Speed IT

Is multi-speed IT the next “big idea” of 2015? Rob England, the IT Skeptic, thinks it is. Instead of the DevOps-ITIL either/or model, England believes there need to be more nuanced “mixes” of the development lifecycle. He introduces the terms “nimble” and “conservative” to describe a more flexible approach to lifecycle design.

1. Multi-Speed vs. Bi-Modal

First it is necessary to address the idea that a bi-modal IT is required to handle both “fast” and “slow” aspects of the business. Rob is naturally skeptical. He insists that multi-speed is neither dependent on nor synonymous with bi-modal IT.

2. Governance

Make no mistake about it; he wants risk to be taken seriously for the nimble approach to IT. That is, agility and speed are great, but they come at an undeniable price. Business leadership should hear about risk early and they (not the CIO) should make the final call when it comes to agility (or being nimble, if you prefer).

3-4. Trust / Lifecycle

Furthermore, no small degree of trust is required for organizations to allow each team to own its own unique life cycle approach. At the very least, a standard approach should be created, and each team should be empowered by it. It almost goes without saying that someone needs to take the directive and design a lifecycle approach with business requirements in mind.

5-6. Interfacing / Standard Change

Again, to address risk, any agile or nimble approach needs to be hedged against. This may be accomplished by “ring fencing” a production target:

Give [nimble developers]their own little world to build and run in – and screw up – at their discretion.

Do that, or at least get a written waiver against any liability from risk. Oh, and a nimble approach should get as many standard change types as it needs (as defined by ITIL). Don’t balk; standard change is a must-have for business culture!

7-9. Automation / Outreach / Operating

Additionally, automation does not solve every problem, and it certainly doesn’t solve the risk equation. Therefore, the operations team should be ready for whatever development cooks up from Day One. Oh, and one last minor detail – multi-speed IT will fundamentally change your operating model.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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